Comey: Wikileaks Is 'Intelligence Porn,' Not 'Legitimate' News

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey described Wikileaks as “intelligence porn,” adding that Julian Assange’s site should not be viewed as a “legitimate” news gathering operation.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, Comey was asked by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) about the legality of media organizations soliciting classified governmental information from government sources.

While the Espionage Act has no “carve out for journalists,” said Comey, the federal government does not consider “news gathering and legitimate news reporting” to be criminal conduct when news media organizations solicit, obtain, or publish classified governmental information.

Our focus is and should be on the leakers, not those that are obtaining [classified governmental information] as part of legitimate news gathering.”

Partial transcript below.

BEN SASSE: The American journalist who is seeking this [classified governmental information] differs from Julian Assange and Wikileaks, how?

JAMES COMEY: In that, there’s at least a portion, and people can argue that maybe this conduct Wikileaks has engaged in in the past that’s closer to regular news gathering, but in my view, a huge portion of Wikileaks’ activities has nothing to do with legitimate news gathering, informing the public, commenting on important public controversies, but is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States of America.

Comey added that most American journalists operate conscientiously when obtaining classified governmental information, taking measures to reasonably prevent placing “lives in danger.”

UNITED STATES - MAY 3: Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,' featuring testimony by FBI Director James Comey on May 3, 2017


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